Every time I hear someone say, “You can sleep when you’re dead” I want to scream at them “SLEEP DEPRIVATION IS GOING TO ACCELERATE YOUR DEATH!!” But I don’t want them to have a sleepless night over it. Ba-dum-tsch.
Sleep deprivation has so many weird and scary consequences. Teens missing out on sleep are 20 per cent more likely to be obese by age 21. Lack of sleep can cause acne. Teens who sleep an average of six hours per night are also three times more likely to suffer from depression. And each hour of lost sleep causes a 58 per cent increase in suicide attempts. Chronic sleep deprivation is a cause of stroke, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. It’s even screwed up Kanye.
I’ll stop freaking you out now and tell you what you can do about it. Teenagers need 9-10 hours of sleep daily to stay mentally and physically healthy. And ‘sleep hygiene’ is how you’re going to get it.
No, I’m not being sponsored. You might have heard about the blue thing. Flux adjusts the colour of your screen automatically depending on the time. “The blue light effect is really like having someone at bedtime shouting to stay awake.”
Set a night-time alarm
I know, you’re like “But I already set 10 alarms every morning!” In addition, set an alarm reminding you it’s bedtime. If I have to get up at 7am and I want nine hours’ sleep, I set an alarm at 9.30pm to remind me to start winding down, then another ‘lights off’ alarm at 10pm.
Make your room into a dungeon
It should be as dark as possible, and also on the cold side. Consider getting blackout curtains and turn off all heaters. As soon as your alarm goes off let the light in to prove to your unconvinced brain that it’s time to get up.
Empty your brain
Keep a diary or to-do list beside your bed. Jot notes down before you go to sleep, including anything you have to do tomorrow, and you’ll be less likely to stay awake stressing.
No nicotine, caffeine or alcohol before bed
If you’re having serious problems sleeping, you should cut out coffee and energy drinks completely. In fact, cut them out anyway – they’re really bad for you. It’s a vicious cycle – stimulants make you buzzed so that you can’t sleep, and the next day you’re exhausted so you need an energy drink. Avoiding stimulants should be obvious, but having a ‘nightcap’ is also a bad idea because alcohol might make you drowsy at first, but actually makes your sleep shallow and restless.
Use your bed as a bed
Don’t use it as a desk, dining table and entertainment centre. If you only use your bed for sleep (and sex), when you get in between the sheets your brain will know it’s sleep time (not snack time/game time/homework time) and you’ll fall asleep much more quickly.
For more info check out these resources
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